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  #1  
Old 01-08-2018, 09:58 AM
Sam Buchanan's Avatar
Sam Buchanan Sam Buchanan is offline
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Default Aircraft Tug-or how to salvage an old Murray

Even though the paved ramp outside my hangar is nearly level, the RV-6 just seems to be getting more difficult each year to pull into the hangar.....the plane must be getting heavier.....

In order to avoid straining high-mileage body parts I decided to replace the soft tissue tug with something more substantial. There was a thread on VAF some time back about how to repurpose various means of locomotion so they would move an aircraft into a hangar.

The father of one our VAFers has a yard-full of lawn mowers that is in a constant state of flux as he buys, trades, swaps with the community. He loaded an old, ugly derelict Murray riding mower of 1993 vintage on my truck and I proceeded to resurrect it as an RV tug. After some minor refreshening of the engine, tubes in the dry-rotted tires and a complete tear-down for cleaning and paint after throwing away everything that didn't look like a tug, I have a rig that effortlessly pulls the RV-6 up the ramp and into the hangar. My regular towbar attaches to a drawbar on the front of the tug and it backs the RV-6 into place. My back and knees will live to fly another year.

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Last edited by Sam Buchanan : 01-08-2018 at 12:27 PM.
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  #2  
Old 01-08-2018, 10:26 AM
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Very nice.
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  #3  
Old 01-08-2018, 10:29 AM
rockwoodrv9 rockwoodrv9 is offline
 
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If you slap a blade on the front, you will be ready for the once a year snow you guys get! I have seen snowblowers made into tugs but not a lawnmower. Nice work.
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  #4  
Old 01-08-2018, 12:10 PM
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Any chance we can get some photos and or video of the tug in action?
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  #5  
Old 01-08-2018, 12:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RV6_flyer View Post
Any chance we can get some photos and or video of the tug in action?
Gary, I don't have any at this time, but all it does is sound like a 12hp Briggs as it, uh, tugs the RV-6 back into the hangar....pretty uneventful.

It would probably pull a small Citation without breaking a sweat as long as the tires didn't spin. I was careful to pick out a donor mower with a manual transmission instead of hydro-static drive. Reverse gear is rather low and quite the stump puller. The tug is loafing so much I even disabled the governor.
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Last edited by Sam Buchanan : 01-08-2018 at 12:23 PM.
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  #6  
Old 01-08-2018, 12:21 PM
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I have seen Sam's restored mower/tug, and yes, it is as neat as the photo appears. I visited his hangar a few weeks ago as I had heard that he had completed this project. I have a similar old Murray that came down through my wife's family, and I intend to convert mine to a similar tug. Should be fun.
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  #7  
Old 01-08-2018, 12:22 PM
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Mike S Mike S is offline
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I did the same with an old Sears rider a few years back------just used my Bogie bar, tied a Larks Head around the handle with some 6mm kernmantle and used a carabiener to hook it to the tractor.

Worked fine with the 10, until the transaxle locked up------but then what do you expect from a free junk tractor?
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  #8  
Old 01-08-2018, 04:36 PM
7DeltaLima 7DeltaLima is offline
 
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Sam --- Saw the picture before reading the post.... Thought you were getting ready for the spring and lawn mower racing season.

Doug
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  #9  
Old 01-08-2018, 04:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7DeltaLima View Post
Sam --- Saw the picture before reading the post.... Thought you were getting ready for the spring and lawn mower racing season.

Doug
I've had a couple of visitors ask me if I was into the tractor pulling scene!

Tell you what happened....I removed all the safety switches and stuff (brake switch, deadman's seat switch, etc) when I reassembled the tug. First startup at the shop I wasn't completely sure of the shift pattern and how the beast was geared. Apparently it was in high gear when the old belt/pulley engaged suddenly for the first time in who knows how many years. The front wheels jumped about 18" off the ground and the pilot nearly became a spectator sitting on the ground. If he had fallen off there was nothing to slow down the runaway tug until it tried to climb the neighbor's fence. A video of the pilot's expression while getting back in the seat and regaining control would have gone viral.
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Last edited by Sam Buchanan : 01-08-2018 at 04:54 PM.
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  #10  
Old 01-08-2018, 04:56 PM
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Do you happen to have a pic of how your towbar attaches? I'd love to get a tug but new ones are way too expensive. Heck I could buy a brand new riding lawnmower for half what a decent aircraft tug goes for.
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